Yemen..Houthis control areas in Hodeidah after a sudden withdrawal of UAE-backed forces


Yemeni local sources said – Friday – that the Houthi group took control of areas in Hodeidah governorate, western Yemen, after the sudden withdrawal of UAE-backed forces from it.

Local sources said that the militants of the “Ansar Allah” group, the Houthis, took control of areas in the vicinity of the city of Hodeidah and opened the main road that connects it with Sana’a.

A local source stated that the Houthis raided several homes and carried out a campaign of arrests, while dozens of families were displaced from the areas from which the UAE-backed “Giant Brigades” withdrew, fearing reprisals from the Houthis.

For their part, the Houthis stated that 4 people – including 3 children – were killed in a coalition airstrike in the Al-Tuhayta district, south of Al-Hodeidah Governorate.

Commenting on their control of Hodeidah, a member of the Houthi political bureau, Muhammad al-Bakhiti, declined to confirm that there had been coordination with the UAE-backed forces that withdrew from areas in the governorate, but he assured Al Jazeera that the Houthis are open to any understandings to reduce losses, describing what happened as a positive step.

As for the UAE-backed forces that withdrew from Hodeidah, they said that they had evacuated fighting areas in the province in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement. These forces added – in a statement – that they took this decision in light of the redeployment plan specified in the agreement, which the legitimate government is committed to implementing.

The statement expressed the regret of the UAE-backed forces that this plan was met with what it described as media misinformation, aimed at undermining the confidence of its members.

The head of the Media Center for the National Resistance, Samir Al-Yousifi, said that what happened in Hodeidah was not a withdrawal, but a redeployment, he said. He added – in an interview with Al Jazeera from Mocha – that this was implemented in implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.

In this context, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the international organization is following up on reports that the Yemeni government forces have withdrawn from the areas surrounding the southern city of Hodeidah, and the Houthi forces have moved to most of these areas.

Haq stressed that the United Nations was not informed of these movements in advance, and called on all parties to ensure the safety of civilians in and around the areas where these shifts occurred on the front lines of the conflict. The United Nations Mission in Hodeidah also said that it was coordinating between the parties to reach the facts about the situation in Hodeidah, adding that it had no prior knowledge of the withdrawal of the joint forces from the city.

Yemen has been witnessing a war for nearly 7 years, which has killed more than 233,000 people, and 80% of the population – numbering about 30 million people – has become dependent on support and aid, in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.

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